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 Post subject: Remembering the Rules
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 10:53 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 12:43 am
Posts: 15
Hi all

What do you do when your child repeatedly forgets to ask before eating something? My daughter is very bright and very easy to get along with, yet today marked the THIRD time she has eaten something in her class (Kindergarten) without asking the teacher.

First time a sub gave her a chocolate (sub asked, is anyone allergic to chocolate? and my daughter ate one, then told the sub she was allergic to peanuts), 2nd time was the Halloween party where she just helped herself to everything, today they were having a movie and she knew she could eat the popcorn but one of the mom's brought cupcakes that I didn't know were going to be there and she ate one of those.

She has always been told to ask first, and always remembers when I am there. After the 2nd incident we went beyond the "always ask first" and said her new line is "no thank you, I have my own snacks", and we left some special treats for her to have in her class. Today she started eating a cupcake beofre the teacher saw her; teacher didn't take it away as she told me it was safe (? not sure if she asked the parent or what), but talked to her afterwards. They were having a movie and popcorn that I already ok'd as well.

I also talked to her today afterwards about how important it was, how she would get very sick and have to go to the hospital, etc.... it just doesn't seem like the message is getting through. She was only 1 at her first (and only) reaction and has no memory of it. She has never been in a daycare and last year in her preschool the teacher was allergic to peanuts as well so I felt very safe having her there and knowing the teacher was checking snack time very carefully.

Has anyone else experienced this? All of your kids seem so much more careful. I feel like I have drilled it into her as much as I possibly can without terryifying her (when she was 3 she was afraid to say the word peanut or look at peanuts or pictures of peanuts!). Is this just a normal reaction to being relatively new to school, and to non-parental care? Is there something else I could be doing to get this message through to her better?

We have had so few problems with her allergy in general but with her in Kindergarten this year it feels like I am dealing with something allergy-related every 2 days!! WHY do they seem to do so much with food in the schools? What's wrong with just playing and making crafts for fun??!! :?

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 11:56 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2005 10:29 pm
Posts: 76
Location: Markham, Ontario
Hi, well, I think the main reason my 3 year old daughter is so cautious is because she had a few very serious anaphylactic reactions this year and she remembers the needles and IVs (and hives and vomiting, etc., etc.) very well.

I also make a point of role playing with her. I regularly ask her what she would say if someone offers her food ("No thank you, I'm allergic to nuts." "But there are no nuts in this chocolate." "I'm not allowed to eat any food unless my mommy or daddy gives it to me.") I use different situations, like if someone offers her a cookie or a candy or a sandwich, even if it's a grown-up offering. Sometimes she has a hard time saying "No" to things like chocolate or cookies while we're role playing, but 9 times out of 10 she says "no thank you" as we've rehearsed. I try to word it differently every time we do the role playing, so that she's better prepared to handle different situations.

I also make a point of showing her different kinds of nuts and nut products when we're in the supermarket. I point out all the different kinds of nuts and things that could have nuts, like chocolate and other snacks. When we pass the bulk section she always gasps and exclaims, "Mommy, there are nuts in those bins!"

Of course, she is only three and I can't rely on her to avoid nuts on her own. I just talk it up a lot and keep her allergy on the forefront of her mind, but without making it rule her life. We talk about different kinds of allergies ("Mommy, you're allergic to cats and I'm allergic to nuts but cats don't make you throw up because we don't eat cats").

I hope this helps a little.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2005 12:32 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6616
Location: Ottawa
I'm begining to think that our daughter is comfortable and confident enough with my presence to assert herself and say "No", but that on her own, in the classroom setting she is overwhemed and will seek to please her teacher (by eating offered foods). The last time this happened she had a sore stomach for the rest of the day until I found out about it and sat her down. With no prompting she "confessed". I believe that she knew it was wrong but didn't feel comfortable challenging her teacher.
I also believe that 4 years old is too young to expect these kids to not get caught up in the moment. The adults responsible for their well being need to be aware of the dangers in the classroom. When children with food allergies are present, that means any food (and possibly craft) items. The teachers need to be in control of the classroom and demand that anything that is introduced be OK'd by her (so that she can check with the appropriate parent).
Is it really that hard for parents to inform the school the day before that they wish to bring cupcakes in for their childs birthday? I'm pretty sure they aren't up at 4:30 baking.
How can we expect a 4 year old to do a better job at policing the environment than we do of an adult? It really is a bit much.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2005 3:16 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
We have a bunch of alexander the elephant books, the FAAN kids activity book, an alex coloring book, an alex stuffed elephant and an alex video. They are really great for teaching proper allergy rules. I highly recommend them. My daughters love them. I ordeded them from faan at ... come.shtml
You need to phone in your order in canada, you will find the phone number if you try to check out.

I also am driven CRAZY by the constant parade of junk food, and food-centred activities in the schools. AAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

We use the phrase "no thank you." we heard it in an alex book...alex also promotes only food from home...and asking ONLY mom or dad.

It is really tough to face that your little baby, who is only 3 or 4, needs to be in control of her own potentially life threatening condition...because the adults who are suppost to care for her, and teach her are too stupid/ignorant to show responsibility, and refuse to value her life over the momentary enjoyment of a cupcake.

I also was under the impression that attending school taught kids their ABC's, Math, Science...sometimes it feels like my daughter really never learned anything at two years of preschool other than about junk food, candy, and feeling excluded. She learned everything else "education related" at home prior to it being learned at school.

I also instructed the school "NO FOOD THAT HAS NOT COME FROM HOME" that way it is clear, and they realize that it is not their judgement call to make. Put it in it is on file (let the principal know), if it happens again...and take it to the superintendant...or the minister of education if you have to. The Sask minister has given me the names and numbers of all local people to contact if I feel in any way that my daughters future school is not meeting her needs. He also WANTS me to advise them of any problems. If they don't know the problems are there...they can not do anything to change them.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2005 2:53 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:55 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Vancouver, BC
My son was very hard to teach. He is the kind of kid who you say "don't touch the stove - you'll get burned." so he touches the stove. He lives to risk, to prove me wrong. The only way he learned was to have an anaphylactic reaction at age 6 in grade one. It drove me nuts (!) that everyone kept telling me that I had to teach him to take responsibility. It was like asking me to teach my dog to talk. At 4,5,6 years old he was totally incapable to being able to make these judgements. I did everything I could to teach him, I have all the books, we role played, etc., etc. He did not remember his earlier reactions, and he hated being different, he thought I was over-reacting and he resented the rules I imposed on him.

I feel the same as Saskmom it is easiest to tell the school and the child that they are under no circumstance to eat things other than sent from home. That way it is one simple rule all the time. It is easier for them, easier for us. No label, no food. No epipen, no food. If it's not from home, don't eat it.

Anyway, it all turned out okay in retrospect. He shared a snack, he had anaphylaxis,he had his epipen. He scared everyone silly. He and the school are much more serious about his allergies, now. He always asks, he is his own best advocate. The year after he had the reaction was very hard for him as he was to scared to go to friends houses, be at school, etc. but he has overcome most of his anxiety. I, on the other hand, have started taking anti-anxiety medication. This has helped me a lot. The years of dealing with this started to take their toll. I just needed a break from worrying all the time. I am slowly reducing the meds now, and I feel better then I have in years. It took me months of feeling out of control, insomnia, irritablility to get myself some help, cos I felt like it was admitting their was something wrong with me. But it has helped me feel so much better. I had lost perspective, I had trained my brain to be in a constant worrying state. I do not want to be promoting medication, but I think I would have been in serious difficulty if I had not done something. With Aaron's anaphylaxis, I have tried so hard to control, control, control, and so much of it is out of my control.

Having the forum really helped me feel better, before I thought I was the only one who worried so much about this, but now I see that it is something that most of us are going through.

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